Robot Density: Korea Tops; China Surpasses US

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  • For the first time ever, China outshone the United States in robot density in 2021
  • Germany, with 397 robots for every 10,000 workers, is the most automated country in Europe

International Federation of Robotics (IFR) recently released a report saying that South Korea reached an all-time high of 1,000 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, and China witnessed a significant hike in robot installations last year. Its industrial robotics market witnessed 243,300 installations in 2021, a 44% increase YoY. China outstripped Taiwan, the US, Hong Kong and Sweden in robot density.

IFR remarked that robot installations were at an all-time high in 2021, growing by 31% YoY. During this period, 517,385 new industrial robots were installed in factories worldwide, surpassing the pre-pandemic record of robot installations in 2018 by 22%. As per the report, the stock of operational robots also touched a new benchmark of around 3.5 mn units in 2021.

Interestingly, this high jump caused China to reach the fifth spot on the list of most automated countries in 2021, from ninth in 2020. It is noteworthy that South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Germany remained in the top four spots globally.

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The Korean electronics industry and automotive sector both contribute greatly to the country’s overall robot density, consolidating its place in the global automation industry. Singapore, the second spot-holder, stood at 670 robots per 10,000 employees. In the last five years, it has seen an average of 24% per year in robot density.

IFR noted that the top manufacturer of industrial robots, Japan stood third with 399 robots for every 10,000 workers. Japan manufactures 45% of the global supply of industrial robots.

Notably, China had 322 industrial robots for every 10,000 employees in the country last year. IFR President, Marina Bill commented: “Robot density is a key indicator of automation adoption in the manufacturing industry around the world. The new average global robot density in the manufacturing industry surged to 141 robots per 10,000 employees – more than double the number six years ago. China’s rapid growth shows the power of its investment so far, but it still has many opportunities to automate.”

The IFR was established as a non-profit organization in 1987 with an aim to connect the world of robotics around the globe. It envisages promoting research, development, use and international cooperation in the entire field of robotics, to act as a focal point for organizations and governmental representatives in activities related to robotics.


 

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